Bicompax is the designation for a dial with only two subdials – one register for the small seconds, usually at the 9 o’clock position, and one for the timed minutes, usually at 3 o’clock. This type of display has been around since the early 20th century and is currently seeing a rebound in popularity. We’ve rounded up six recent examples in this list. And as always, we’ve included a range of price options including the more expensive mono-pusher variety as well.
Baltic Bicompax 001
The indie French micro-brand has been getting a lot of love for their vintage-inspired watches, notably the duo of limited edition salmon dial watches it made in association with watch blog Worn & Wound. The Bi-Compax is a good starting point for someone looking to buy an affordable old-school manual-winding chronograph.
The watch uses a 38 mm brushed stepped steel case that was characteristic of watches made in the 1940’s. The bi-compax layout sees the placement of a running seconds hand at 9 o’ clock and a 30-minute counter at 3. It is powered by the Chinese-made Seagull ST19 movement, a hand-cranked mechanical chronograph movement based on the Venus 175 caliber. It’s worth mentioning here that Seagull’s parent, the Tianjin Watch Factory, acquired the struggling Swiss company in the 1960s.
PRICE: €540 (AED2,175)
Inspired by the classic chronograph models that the French manufacturer made in the 1960s, the Yema Speedgraf has a strong Sixties vibe in terms of its design. It uses a 39 mm stainless steel case topped by a domed sapphire crystal and fitted with a bi-directional bezel with a black aluminium insert.
The high-contrast dial layout sees a 30-minute counter at 9 o’ clock while the running seconds hand is at 3. A telemeter scale is placed on the periphery of the dial and the watch is powered by the self-winding Seiko NE86 movement, which has a power reserve of 45 hours. This is a limited edition of 300 pieces and the watches are made in the French watchmaking town of Morteau.
PRICE: $1,499 (AED 5,500)
Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Chronograph
Inspired by the aesthetics of classic automobiles, this Frederique Constant chronograph is available in three variants. The watch uses a 42mm diameter stainless steel or rose gold plated case fitted with a convex sapphire crystal over the dial. The piston-shaped chronograph pushers have a grooved surface for better grip.
The bi-compax chronograph layout has a 30-minute counter at 3 o’ clock and a running seconds hand at 9. It is powered by the FC-397 automatic chronograph movement visible through caseback. A modular chronograph movement reportedly based on an ETA movement, the 25 jewels caliber beats at 28’800 per hour (4 Hz) and delivers 46 hours of power reserve. Read more here.
PRICE: $3,095 (AED11,366) for rose gold-plated version while steel references are at $2,795 (AED10,264)
Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage
The aviation-inspired Startimer collection for the first time features a stylish bi-compax monopusher chronograph, based on movement designed by specialists La Joux-Perret.
The counter at 3 o’ clock measures up to 30 minutes, the one at 9 is the running seconds hand a black central chronograph seconds hand sweeps across the dial when the pusher is engaged. The watch is powered by Caliber AL-727, designed by movement specialists La Joux-Perret. It has a 55-hour power reserve: almost 45 per cent more than its predecessor. More about these models here.
PRICE: €2,895 (Approx. AED11,730)
Breitling Top Time
The Top Time re-issue this year has a distinctive “Zorro” dial layout, with its two parallel white sub-dials framed by a black domino-mask-like motif. The stainless steel case measures 41 mm in diameter, with a convex sapphire crystal, a non-screwed, single-gasket crown, and plunger-style chronograph pushers. The case is only water-resistant to 30 meters.
A limited edition of 2,000 pieces, the watch is powered by Breitling Caliber 23, a self-winding chronograph movement based on the ETA 7753 with a power reserve of around 48 hours. Like all Breitling calibers, this is a COSC-certified chronometer movement.
PRICE: $4,990 (AED17,995)
Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph
Heritage Monopusher Chronograph with its beautiful salmon dial is an important technical pillar for Montblanc. The minutes chronograph register includes the same payphone indicator as the Pulsograph model.
This 42-mm timepiece comes in a fully-polished stainless steel case with curved horns, a domed sapphire glass box and a view of the Minerva Manufacture embossed on the closed caseback. The watch is powered by Caliber MB25.12 (Sellita SW510 made exclusively for Montblanc) and is paired with a Sfumato alligator leather strap.
PRICE: €4,700 (Approx. AED18,900)